TAWANG, Oct 27: Policy towards border areas have changed for good since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister. The lack of political will of the erstwhile government has changed into a commitment to developing all kinds of infrastructure for the ease of life of the border people, said chief minister Pema Khandu at Chuna, somewhere along the Tibet-China border in the high altitudes of Tawang district.

Interacting with Indian army personnel guarding the remote border outpost, Khandu said the development of border areas for ease of life not only of the villagers but also of army personnel is a priority of the state as well as the central government. He pointed out that despite difficult terrains and harsh climatic conditions the pace of infrastructural development has accelerated in recent years.

He said earlier, agencies like BRO, Indian Army, ITBP, state govt departments, etc independently submitted their requirements for infrastructure development to the central government as per their own needs.

“Since a couple of years, we have started to coordinate and consult with each of these agencies and collectively submit proposals for border area development taking into consideration requirements of each agency. This way, it has become easier for the central government to decide and approve sanctions,” Khandu informed.

Expressing pride at the presence of Arunachal Scouts in the Chuna sector, Khandu said they being sons of the soil are well acclimatised to the altitude and weather and accustomed to local customs and way of life.

He informed that the central government has in principle agreed to raise four more companies of Arunachal Scouts soon.

Starting from Tawang on 24th Oct, Khandu first visited the Yangtse border post, which was recently in news for a reported face-to-face between the Indian Army and PLA.

Referring to the common request of army personnel as well as villagers for mobile connectivity, Khandu informed that recently the central government has approved and sanctioned the installation of 980 4G mobile towers in the state. He assured first preference will be given to the border areas.

He expressed hope that the army will continue to maintain the great rapport and bonhomie developed over the years with the residents as more than often the latter depend on the army for emergency and daily needs.

“People living in the border areas are our first sentinels marking the start of our territory. Jawans and officers will go on transfer after a few years but the locals will stay here forever. Please keep on the cordial relationship with them and as and when you leave the place, enlighten your relievers to continue the tradition of civil-military relation,” Khandu urged.

During the border-area tour, the chief minister accompanied by chief secretary Naresh Kumar (up to Yangtse) and Planning Commissioner Prashant Lokhande along with a host of local administrative officers visited Tse Chu, Mago and Thingbu villages.

Responding to several issues raised by the villagers, Khandu assured to develop infrastructure of the government school and post a sufficient number of teachers at Tse Chu.

He highlighted the flagship programmes like Swachh Bharat, Jal Jeevan Mission, PM Ujjwala Yojna, CMAYA, etc and urged the villagers to avail the benefits without fail. He directed accompanying district officials to extend benefits of all welfare schemes and programs to the people by facilitating these at their doorsteps.

On day three of the tour, the chief minister attended a COVID-19 vaccination camp at Mago, wherein second doses of the vaccine were administered to 178 persons under the supervision of DIO Dr Rinchin Neema and the medical team from the Jang community health centre.

Earlier, Khandu also visited Yangkee-1 border outpost, which hosts the holy Buddhist site of 108 waterfalls, ChumiGyatse and paid tributes at the Chetry War Memorial at Tullung La.

The tour ended with a 10 km trek from Mago to Thingbu Tuesday evening.

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